The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Tom abandoned his family in order to pursue his own future. The play is centered around the theme of family starting with the father of Laura and Tom abandoning the family when they were just children and finally Tom’s selfish abandonment of his family who is entirely dependent on him. In The Glass Menagerie, family means obligations. This play raises questions of duty and responsibility to your other family members, and for the most part in gender specific roles. We see that it is the job of the male to bring home money, and the daughter to look pretty and get married. This also features the notion of abandonment, as a father leaves the family behind. There is also the notion of children taking after their parents; Tom leaves the family just as his father did, and Amanda wishes her daughter were as popular as she used to be. We see fighting between mother and son over both trivial matters, such as dinner etiquette, and larger issues, such as work and life goals. Lastly, this play examines the relationship between sister and brother, as Tom feels both protective and later regret with regards to his sister Laura. We can sense Tom’s feelings of being trapped, the fact that he is contained in only one location along with his family. The fire escape, of course, is crucial, being a means of escape and all. It‘s kind of hangs out there like a constant foreshadowing of Tom’s eventual escape. It’s also, fittingly, the place where narrator Tom does a good deal of his narrating. This makes sense – narrator Tom has already escaped, so he speaks to us from outside the apartment. The characters use the picture of the father on the living room wall in different ways. Amanda uses it to remind Tom about what a rotten fink his father was, and how she doesn't want him to turn out. Tom looks at it and wants desperately to be like him. The props used in the play are a means of escape. For Tom, it's the movies and the fire escape, for...
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